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Ah, summer. June through September is a tomato lollapalooza. But once the season is over, all bets are off.

What's a shopper to do when you need fresh tomatoes for a recipe?

Why you should think small

This time of year, tiny yet mighty cherry or grape tomatoes are the sweet antidote to pale supermarket ’maters that are picked green and ripened off the vine. Look for red, orange, or yellow gems that are smooth, plump, and unwrinkled. A big brand: Sunset

Sunset also markets Sweet Bites, Flavor Bombs, and Sugar Bombs—extra-sweet cherry and grape tomatoes that are still on the vine. Tomatoes that have no stem can lose moisture through the top, so they’re less juicy.

For slightly larger tomatoes, try Mini Kumatos, Campari, or cocktail.

How to store cherry and grape tomatoes

Keep whole tomatoes on the countertop, not in the fridge. Cold temps not only slow ripening (and turn flesh mealy), but can also sap flavor. The good news: cold does the least damage to cherry or grape tomatoes, which are sold ripe. So if you’re not going to use them soon, go ahead; toss ’em in the fridge.

How to enjoy them

Both cherry and grape tomatoes also make the perfect year-round snack, with just 25 measly calories per cup. And tomatoes have plenty of vitamin C, plus a decent dose of vitamin A and potassium.

Have any tomatoes that are about to pass their prime? Sauté or roast them, then toss with beans or whole wheat pasta or other grains.

Roasted Tomatoes

This recipe was developed by Kate Sherwood, The Healthy Cook. Have a comment, question, or idea? Email Kate at

Time: 45 minutes


  • 2 pints small tomatoes 
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • A few sprigs of thyme


  1. Halve the tomatoes. 
  2. Toss with the olive oil and thyme.
  3. Roast on a large lined, rimmed baking sheet at 375°F for 25-30 mins. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. 

Photos (top to bottom): sebra/, Kate Sherwood/CSPI.